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Hardball Weekend

The best of ``Hardball With Chris Matthews.''

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Washington 4, John Boehner 3, Geico 3, Chris Christie 3, Bridget Kelly 3, North Carolina 3, Christie 2, Michael Isikoff 2, Eugene Robinson 2, Lee 2, Amanda Terkel 2, Campbell 2, U.s. 2, Michelle 2, Obama 2, The Jury 1, Michelle Obama 1, Dave 1, Eisenhower 1, The City 1,
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  MSNBC    Hardball Weekend    The best of ``Hardball  
   With Chris Matthews.''  

    March 1, 2014
    2:00 - 2:31am PST  

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coming up fighting. let's play "hardball." >> good evening. i'm chris matthews in washington. let me start tonight with this. tomorrow's march. the months of 2014 are being torn from the calendar as we move to november, and that dawning election for congress, especially the u.s. senate where the democrats, the president's party, lie perilously close to defeat, and with it the loss of all legislative control by the president. tonight the president himself blew the bugle. he is jumping into the fight to save the power he as president needs to have for him to complete his agenda between now
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and 2016, and well before that, really, the compelling campaign news crowding in before that. well, the message from the president focused all the fire he has on rousing the people who voted for him twice for president. actually, he is the only candidate since eisenhower in the 1950s to win a sound majority of 51% of the vote on two occasions. he is doing this on a base of two great facts. that on so many issues, the democratic party does hold the popular position, that and the hard pack that the republican party continues to be vulnerable on the charge that it cares hardly at all for that infamous or famous 47% that mitt romney banished so cleanly from his and his party's scope of sympathy. >> they just keep on offering a theory of the economy that time and again has failed america. they think we should drastically reduce or eliminate the safety net for people. we're seeing that played out right now in the battle about unemployment insurance.
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they'll even shut down the government or threaten the full faith and credit of our country when they don't get their way. and if we do all these things, they are convinced that the economy will thrive, and jobs and prosperity will trickle down to everybody. that's what they believe. and they have a right to hold those beliefs. but the american people know better, because what they're offering is not a new theory. >> well, joining me right now to discuss the president's words you just heard delivered late this afternoon are david corn and eugene robinson. both are msnbc political analysts. gene, i want to talk to you about this first. this is really basic democratic talk. the only thing that really makes it different is the sort of positive morale officer role he is playing which is to say we're on the popular side of these issues. >> exactly. he's saying we're on the popular
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side. more people agree with us than agree with the republicans. so let's get out there. let's fight. and the rallying cry for the people assembled in that hall, the democratic national committee who are going to go out and go back to their states and work is to get the voters out. to get the democratic voters out. young people, african americans, latinos who normally don't vote in large numbers in off year elections. >> he's got a party, the democratic party of barack obama is a fabulous party. i saw the statistics the other day. it never occurred to me. he is the only guy since eisenhower who was a war hero, won the second world war to get two 51 percents. he didn't just get it once. he got it twice. he has delivered an electorate. can he do it a third time? >> it's a coalition between all the types of voters we have been talking about. what barack obama has been trying to do since the tea party election of 2010 is to make the fight between democrats and republicans a national battle about values which everybody has some skin in the game because of some interests and put together this coalition. he did it wonderfully for 2012.
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and mitt romney was the ideal candidate because he could come up with this value distinction. whether he can nationalize a midterm election on the second part of his presidency is really a high -- >> you know what he needs -- >> is a high challenge. >> he needs mitt romney could come back at 47% again? have some bartender catching him doing it. >> if mitt doesn't come back, maybe somebody else can step in. >> he has to find somebody to make that point. >> the other thing they can do is exploit the edge that the democratic party has in the mechanics of getting out the vote, in targeting and identifying, tracking voters. >> well, we'll get to the issues, too. they have another advantage. a lot of the issues like minimum wage are right there for them. here is more from the president tonight speaking to the dnc, just a few minutes ago talking about women. let's watch. >> at a time when women make up half of our workforce, it's an outrage that women can still make 77 cents for every dollar man earns.
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this isn't 1954. it's 2014. a woman deserves equal pay for equal work. i saw some republicans in congress brought in outside aides to teach them how to talk to women. [ laughter ] it is unclear how they have gotten this far without that particular skill. the problem isn't how they talk about their policies. the problem is their policies. >> it's like richard burton. how to handle a woman, you know. but it's pretty funny. he's still got his game, right? >> he is sounding like seth meyers and jimmy fallon doing that. you go through that speech, and he is trying to appeal to all these components of this coalition. women probably be the biggest component. but african american -- >> who have the most voters? >> women vote more than anybody else. and we had the whole war on women and all those silly republican rape comments last time around. we want people to remember this. >> you think the ferocious right wing people out there who are pretty nasty, do you think they particularly turn off and maybe
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turn on women voters to go vote against them? they particularly don't like these guys on issues, not just abortion, but all the range of issues. they come off as very nasty. >> women tend to be for liberal voters as well. you're talk about minimum wage. you're talking about preserving health care options for people. women respond to that more than men do. they care more about climate change. so the more that ted cruz is out there, slandering these issues -- >> okay, gene, let's talk tough demographics. south, white men in the south where. where you come from, the white guys are like four or five to one republican now? they don't even have registration cards. they walk around, you know they're republicans. how does he get to them? >> it's not democratic. the votes are not there. but the votes, look at a state like north carolina. with, you know, huge african american population, a growing latino population, a state that has gone for barack obama, you know, kay hagan is imperiled in -- the senator in north
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carolina. if you get the right voters out, you can save that state. >> also, if you get out chapel hill vote too. >> right. >> but you got to get about 100% turnout in chapel hill. >> you got to get every vote you can. now, they have jim messina and other people out there who know how to do this. we saw is the last time around with republicans in 2012 were completely hapless. >> let's look at the good news for the democrats. let's look at the issues that the president thinks. these are interesting. the latest are facing a challenge in landscape of course in november. but when it comes to almost every major issue, the majority of americans actually do, this is so ironic, given sort of the bad morale out there for the dems. nearly two-thirds want the minimum wage raised to $10.10. two-thirds of the country. on the affordable care act, the majority of americans do say they don't want to get rid of it. they don't want to repeal it. they would rather fix it. this is not republican orthodoxy here. a large majority say the government has a role in reducing income inequality. that's not a republican bugle call.
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more republicans blame -- more americans blame republicans. the majority of republicans support same-sex marriage. yes. that's changed. more republicans say blame republicans. to stay in the country to apply for citizenship as part of a comprehensive deal. and when it comes to gun laws in the country, more than half want stricter registrations. 36% said they should be kept as they are. and yet despite all that, the mood in the country might be that voters want to say no this november. and that's my question. the latest "new york times" cbs poll, only 32% say the country is headed in the right direction. and that's key. on all the separate issues, if you break them out, gene, democrat. but if you say what's the mood? >> what's the mood and -- >> how does he trump the mood with the facts? >> right. and is it easier to get people to actually come out to the polls to vote for something they're against or something that they fear rather than, you know, yeah, i think this is a
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good idea, that's a good idea. >> isn't most election a binary election, a yes or no, and he has to fight that? >> what he is doing here is trying to say this is a choice election between democrats and republicans. the republicans want it to be a referendum on people's bad feelings. but a lot of this is just based on where the elections are. a lot of these senate seats are in the south in these areas that are very hard. >> that voted against obama. >> listen to the president here, i think see doing something clever, poaching the republicans' favorite buzzword, opportunity. he better grab it, and he is doing it. let's watch. >> the choice could not be clearer. opportunity for a few opportunity for all. that's what this election is about. as democrats, we have a different idea what the future looks like. an idea rooted in our conviction that our economy grows best not from the top down, but from the middle up. that's what an opportunity agenda offers. >> so it's not opportunity versus welfare. it's opportunity for everybody compared for everybody just for the top.
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>> just for a few, right. >> can you grab that word from frank luntz, whoever grabbed it before? >> words belong to everybody. he took that one back. he also took back freedom. he said we let the other decide define what freedom means. you know, i hope he continues this. these are good words. they ought to belong to everybody. >> is he in the ring or the guy with the towel over his shoulder in the corner? is he mickey or is he rocky? >> the democrats need someone to make this overarching argument, him, bill clinton and a few others, and then see if it can take root in some of these individual races. this is all -- >> can he be the democrats' chief cheerleader to save the senate? >> it's going to be hard in north carolina and some southern states. >> you need a line of cheerleaders, right? you need the president, you need bill clinton. >> he is. cog out fighting, which is big news for the progressives in this country. there are loot of them who need to vote. david corn, and thank you, eugene robinson. coming up, the bridgegate tapes.
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wait until you hear these. the 911 calls from the people stuck in the epic george washington bridge traffic. what a jam they're in. ambulances couldn't get through. wouldn't show up. the fender-benders. well, tonight the picture of chaos and confusion created in the name of political revenge. also, don't look now, but the hillary clinton campaign is already revving up out there. here is the deal. hillary does the policy. bill does the politics. and anyone who wants to could get into rapid response. plus, bathroom humor for the speaker of the house. actually boy's room. hard to believe john boehner made fun of his name. i'm sure he heard these jokes in high school. its the way 13-year-old boys would enjoy it. finally, let me finish tonight with how president obama is better on fiscal responsibility than the cheap shot folks who attack him. wait until you hear this stuff. it's factual and this is "ha "hardball," the place for politics. 75% of your mouth, listerine® cleans virtually your entire mouth.
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back to "hardball." the traffic is a nightmare. those are the words of one new jersey paramedics dispatcher on september 9th of last year, day one of the george washington bridge lane closure scandal that we now know as bridgegate. new police and emergency responder radio transitions were released this day, today, by the municipal clerk of the city of ft. lee. and they paint such a crippling picture of chaos, that they make bridget kelly's now famous description of traffic problems sound like an understatement. the burden, of course, fell on the shoulders of ft. lee's municipal employees who struggle to navigate ambulances and emergency vehicles through the gridlock. it's firsthand evidence of how the politically motivated lane closures ordered by governor christie's deputy chief of staff affected real people in need. let's listen. >> 2-11, traffic is a nightmare. the gw bridge is totally gridlocked if you can come up
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fort lee road or something to that effect. >> 10-4. we're getting calls from irate motorists. >> you are aware the town is a total gridlock, right? >> there is a lot of these tapes. here now to talk about them and the ongoing investigations is nbc's chief investigative correspondent michael isikoff, and amanda terkel. senior political reporter with the huffington post. michael, you've been on this case. how is this going to be used? what is the significance of actually hearing the voices? we're going to play some more of this in a few minutes. >> well, look, chris, if there is ever a criminal case that comes out of all this, they'll be playing the tapes in the opening statement. >> for the jury? >> for the jury. it's how you make it real, you hear people talk about gridlock. but now, to be fair and in perspective, you know, what the defense will do at that very point is then get out the tapes, 100 other tapes from 911 tapes over the period of the last few years, and you'll see that this is not all that unusual. >> sure. but let's go to this call that grabbed me or a juror, i would think. here is a call from a frustrated woman who had already called 911
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once, and was still waiting for the ambulance to arrive. let's listen to this call. >> 911. where is your emergency? >> i called. >> i know. is it for 1345 south -- >> yes, yes. >> they're on your way. you only called a couple of minutes ago. they're on their way, okay. >> you know, it's an emergency, and they are still not here. >> okay. they're on their way. >> okay, bye. >> all right, bye. >> well, there is a person rather pathetically trying to get the ambulance to show up that normally would have gotten there, presumably. and there you have this traffic gridlock. it doesn't get through. >> and it was causing problems for the dispatchers too. not only were they having to deal with the normal calls coming in, and there are a lot of them, but now there are also all these calls coming in about traffic from angry motorists. remember, a 91-year-old woman died while she was waiting for first responders. her family said they don't blame chris christie, but this was just causing all sorts of problems.
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there are accidents. there are people angry, traffic, and certainly closing down these lanes without telling anyone why made it a lot harder. >> i wonder if there is another case. let's take another one we have on the tape here, which was made available today. the traffic jam didn't just cause delays, as you suggest, but accidents begin to pile up, fender-benders. here is a 911 call from one of those accidents. >> put on your hazards. >> 911, where is your emergency? 911, where is your emergency? >> i'm on the george washington bridge. i was just in a car accident. we were rear-ended. >> upper level or the lower level? >> upper level. >> what direction? >> we're heading into the city. >> let's go to the politics. i often try to think about what it's like to be somebody in one of these horrible cases. now you're bridget kelly, right? >> right.
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>> for all i know she is a political operative, a regular person who does what they like to do in the interests of the boss generally and their party. she is watching this with us maybe tonight. >> right. >> she is watching her as the bad guy. she is the one who wrote the e-mail that said "time for some traffic problems in ft. lee." >> right. >> she has had her fingerprints right on this with that e-mail. >> right. >> is she facing criminal charges here? is there a body of a crime here? if you say it come downs to the evidence that someone purposely screwed up traffic on the major artery between new jersey and new york, a big interstate, and did it on purpose for four straight days deliberately, is that a crime? do we know that yet? and if so, she's going got to blow the whist typical other blow the whistle in the other direction. she has to blame it on somebody above her. >> i've talked to a lot of lawyers about this. it's going to be tough to make a federal case about this. but there is a new jersey --
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>> that's bridget kelly we're looking at there. >> an official corruption statute that has been used multiple times against, and it's a broadly worded statute about misusing government power. and that's probably the statute that most directly applies here. the question is who is going to prosecute the case. if the u.s. attorney paul fishman doesn't bring criminal charges because he has a hard time finding a federal statute, what he would like to do is refer to it to new jersey attorney general's office. as it happens -- >> doesn't the federal government regulate interstate commerce? >> yes. >> it can. that's what patrick foye originally suggested, the bridge act. people who looked at the statute says it talks about extortion and other things that may not apply in this case. remember, we don't know all the facts. >> so you get to the state law. so you get to the state law. the attorney general is in new jersey is appointed by the governor. he reports directly to the governor. it's not an elected position like it is in most other states. right now there isn't even a -- there is only an acting attorney general. the guy who christie had nominated to be attorney general was kevin o'dowd, his chief of
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staff, the very guy who he appointed who was designated to find out what was going on here and told him there was no issue. they had to pull the o'dowd nomination. there isn't even a nominee now to become a new jersey attorney general. >> but usually the civil servant who is waiting there, they tend to be pretty nonpartisan. >> yeah. yeah. no indication yet. we don't know how this is going to play out. >> i think the world is watching. they better be careful. last thought, amanda. these tapes, it certainly gives you reality here, doesn't it? >> yeah. and remember, there is more than just these tapes. people are calling in to the port authority, too, and complaining. one woman said her husband was 40 minutes late for his new job after being out of work for a year. and these tapes, if chris christie decides to run for higher office, i'm sure you'll hear these tapes played over and over again. and who knows how many angry motorists are going to be lined up, ready to talk about what a nightmare it was and why you shouldn't trust chris christie in a management job. >> i like the way you think. thank you so much, amanda terkel, and thank you, michael
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isikoff. great reporter. up next, speaker of the house john boehner doesn't have the easiest last name to pronounce. it's german, i guess. and when one reporter actually called him by the wrong name, boehner actually went there to that other pronunciation. that's next in the side show. it's kind of fun. this is "hardball," the place for politics.
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back to "hardball." and time for the side show. it's the fourth anniversary of first lady michelle obama's let's move campaign. and to celebrate, you could say president obama and vice president biden both took a victory lap, literally. ♪ >> mr. president, you ready to move? >> absolutely. lets do this thing. let's move. ♪ >> man, you're hard to keep up
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with. >> you did great out there. after a good workout, you got drink up. >> all right. >> otherwise we're going to be in trouble with jill and michelle. >> just let michelle know i did drink this. >> same time next week? >> same time next week. >> finally some boys room humor made its way into a congressional briefing yesterday. john boehner is certainly used to people mispronouncing his name. but take a look at how the speaker corrected a reporter after the reporter accidentally addressed him as congressman dave camp. >> yes, sir? >> mr. camp -- i mean, sorry. mr. speaker. >> boner, boner.
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>> tax report, you can tell what's been on my mind. mr. speaker, i apologize. >> that's "hardball" for now. thanks for being with us. coming up next, "your business" with j.j. ramberg. and pour in campbell's slow cooker sauce. by the time you get home, dinner is practically done. and absolutely delicious. everyone is cooking with new campbell's slow cooker sauces. and absolutely delicious. hey, buddy? oh, hey, flo. you want to see something cool? snapshot, from progressive. my insurance company told me not to talk to people like you. you always do what they tell you? no... try it, and see what your good driving can save you. you don't even have to switch. unless you're scared. i'm not scared, it's... you know we can still see you. no, you can't. pretty sure we can... try snapshot today -- no pressure.
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